30 tried-and-true products that have changed our looks—and lives.
1982: Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair
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($50 for 1 oz; esteelauder.com)
This hyaluronic acid–laced serum was one of the first to improve skin as you snoozed. Two updates later, it’s also packed with free-radical fighters that help reverse environmental damage.
1982: Tweezerman Slant Tweezer
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Angled edges grip hairs without pinching skin; a lifetime guarantee makes certain they stay sharp.
1982: Chanel Quadra Eye Shadow
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An eye do: Chanel’s smudge-proof, four-pan palettes have always offered women a fashion-forward way to indulge in the latest makeup trends.
1984: Essie Nail Polish in Ballet Slippers
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This always-elegant lacquer is a go-to for women everywhere. Even Queen
Elizabeth gives the sheer pink shade a royal thumbs-up.
1984: Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder
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Inspired by the color of Moroccan earth, the tawnyhued bronzer makes a safe, sun-kissed glow achievable any time of year.
1985: MAC Cosmetics Lip Pencil in Spice
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A staple in every makeup pro’s stash, this creamy nude liner lends definition to lips without leaving a telltale outline.
1989: Aveda Shampure
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Celebs buy this gentle shampoo by the caseload because they’re so enamored with its signature scent—a blend of more than two-dozen botanical essences.
1990: John Frieda Frizz-Ease Original Formula Hair Serum
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A bottle of this silicone-based strand smoother is sold every 13 seconds in the
U.S. Why? It really works!
1992: Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat
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One click is all it takes to unleash the power of this highlighter/concealer pen. Dotted on cheekbones, it creates radiance, while a dab under eyes erases dark circles.
1995: Bare Escentuals bareMinerals Original SPF 15 Foundation
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Ideal for dry, sensitive, and oily skin types alike, this loose powder foundation, made with naturally occurring minerals, transforms from sheer to full coverage with a few strokes of the brush.
1995: Proactiv 3-Step System
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Building a buzz via infomercial, this dermatologist-formulated
benzoyl peroxide regimen is a triple threat for treating existing pimples and simultaneously preventing new ones.
1996: Crème de La Mer
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($135 for 1 oz; lamer.com)
The price of this rich moisturizer initially raised eyebrows, but it quickly proved it was worth such a sizable chunk of change due to some superior anti-aging abilities. (Just ask A-list devotees like Brooke Shields.)
1996: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer
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For the minimalist, Mercier (a notable French makeup artist) developed this hybrid: a light hydrating cream with a hint of color that can be used in place of traditional foundation.
1999: Kérastase Nutritive Lait Vital
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($39; kerastase-usa.com )
Until this lightweight, color-safe hair conditioner became available stateside, obsessed beauty insiders smuggled it across continents in their carry-ons.
1999: RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream
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Derms love retinol for its wrinkle-eradicating benefits, and RoC was the first to stabilize the ingredient in a cosmetic treatment. The updated formula (2004) gets high marks for plumping skin without the accompanying irritation.
1999: OPI Nail Lacquer in I’m Not Really a Waitress
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The cherry-red polish with a clever name boasts mini flecks of mica that reflect light, bestowing a flattering cast on nearly all skin tones.
1999: Nars Orgasm Blush
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($27; narscosmetics.com )
This scandalously named cheek topper became a cult favorite for its universally flattering pinky-peach hue—designed to mimic a post-coital flush.
2000: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel
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Introduced by a New York City dermatologist, this skin slougher brings the in-office treatment home in a two-step glycolic and salicylic acid exfoliator that dissolves dead cells, restores radiance, and boosts collagen production.
2001: Crest 3D White 2 Hour Express Whitestrips
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($55; 3dwhite.com )
Crest’s groundbreaking teeth brighteners provide an easy, at-home way to eliminate surface stains without costly, dentist-administered light treatments and mouth trays. The version here—launched just this year—clocks results in only two hours.
2001: Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation
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Developed because the designer wanted a no-makeup look for his fashion shows, the weightless liquid formula layers effortlessly, without caking.
2002: Dior DiorShow Mascara
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A star was born when formulators saw makeup artists using toothbrushes to apply models’ extra-large wand fans out your fringe, resulting in a false-lash look.
2002: Revlon ColorStay Overtime Lipcolor
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Unlike stay-put pout enhancers of the past that left lips feeling dry, this two-sided product contains polymers and chamomile to soften and maximize shine.
2005: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 30
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Helioplex, Neutrogena’s breakthrough complex, contains a more stable version of the UVAblocking ingredient avobenzone, to better protect skin from premature aging and cancer.
2005: Jergens Natural Glow Revitalizing Daily Moisturizer
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($9; jergens.com )
Aimed at anyone who finds self-tanner scary, this goof-proof formula hydrates skin and delivers low levels of DHA, so color builds gradually over several days.
2005: Clarisonic Classic Sonic Skin Cleansing System
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From the creators of the Sonicare toothbrush, this gadget changed the face of cleansing by gently buffing skin and removing more dirt and oil than soap alone.
2005: Clairol Nice’n Easy Root Touch-Up
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($7; drugstores )
The first mass-market permanent hair color to address re-growth, this comb-through formula extends the time between dye jobs by up to three weeks.
2008: L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray Extra Strong Hold
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Coveted by stylists, beauty mavens, and celebrities the world over, this sweet-smelling spritz is a runway and red carpet fixture that instantly freezes coifs in place—without a hint of crunchiness.
2009: Lancôme Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate
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($78 for 1 oz; lancome.com )
By identifying the proteins responsible for radiance, texture, and tone, Lancôme developed an anti-aging serum that helps the body ramp up their production. One drop a day leads to a noticeable difference in just a week.
2009: CoverGirl & Olay Simply Ageless Sculpting Blush
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($11; covergirl.com )
Color meets correction: An age-defying injection of niacinamide helps smooth skin’s texture while imparting a natural-looking flush.
2011: Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips
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An array of fashion-forward colors and designs (neon! lace! denim!), zero drying
time, and the opportunity to stay chip-free for up to 10 days make these press-on polishes both cool and convenient.